With a contagious smile, positive attitude, and generous heart, Barbara Jean (Munn) Griner lived a life rich in faith and family. A woman who embodied the principles of her faith, Barbara welcomed each day as a gift and every person as a friend. She loved the Lord and trusted his Divine plan, often encouraging others with unwavering positivity, "Don't worry, it will all work out." Barbara radiated joy and was entered in love and compassion. She inspired everyone she met to find the goodness in every moment. A devoted wife, mother, grandmother, great grandmother, and friend, Barbara will long be remembered and ever so missed.
The 1920s were an age of dramatic social and political change. Post-war peace, a booming economy, rising wages for most Americans, and falling consumer prices resulted in a higher standard of living for most. Tremendous confidence, prosperity, and previously unknown comforts marked this roaring decade when a person's success was largely determined by their ability to identify their desires and then work to make them a reality. Locally, this vibrant decade grew even brighter as Mercer and Florence (Godshalk) Munn of Vicksburg welcomed their daughter Barbara into their hearts and home on June 6, 1922.
Growing up in the small, quaint community of Vicksburg, Barbara's early years centered on family. Her father worked at the Vicksburg Bank, went on to become an insurance agent, and owned his own business, Munn's Insurance on Main St. in Vicksburg. Barbara spent a lot of her time with her cousins, Helen Rosales (Munn) and Pat Adams (Bingaman), playing with friends, and fishing with her parents. She also enjoyed close relationships with her grandparents, aunts, and uncles who lived nearby. Holidays were especially wonderful as they were celebrated with large family gatherings. Barbara had a very active church life, where she loved lending her talents to joyful praise of the Lord through music. At a very young age, she contracted rheumatic fever, an experience that reinforced her natural good nature and lifelong attitude of gratitude.
A proud Vicksburg High School Bulldog, Barbara graduated with the class of 1940. She then attended business college for two years. Once she completed her schooling in 1942, she worked for her father in the insurance business. They formed a terrific partnership, and Barbara took great pride in serving her community. Understanding the importance of restorative leisure, she and her father would take turns alternating work weeks to spend time at the cabin during the summer months. For nearly 50 years, Barbara helped care for her treasured community's security and well-being and retired from Schuring Insurance in 1990.
Barbara had the good fortune of being introduced to her sweetheart, Donald Guy Griner, by family members. Though complete opposites, the young couple built their relationship on their common values of faith and family. On May 15, 1946 they celebrated their love by exchanging their marriage vows at Salem Evangelical Church, surrounded by 200 of their family members and friends.
The newlyweds settled in Vicksburg, and in time, were blessed with three daughters. Lynn, Beth, and Karla quickly became the centers of their lives, and Barbara dedicated herself to their good care. Barbara focused on providing her family with a loving and supportive home. With unwavering calm, confidence, and faith, she enthusiastically encouraged all of her girls' endeavors. She was quick to volunteer her time and talents, often helping her girls' sports coaches and 4-H leaders, and never missed a special event.
As her family grew to welcome grandchildren and great-grandchildren, Barbara embraced her new role with grace and gratitude. She adored them all and was an undauntable stand for their greatness. As with her daughters, Barbara lovingly enveloped her grandchildren with faith and confidence, cheering them on at every turn. In her eyes, each of her family members could easily see the reflections of their goodness and worth. She was always a safe harbor, especially in the face of life's hardships.
In her quiet time, Barbara enjoyed the good company of her pets, sewing, crocheting, and cooking. She spent wonderful days caring for her grandchildren during her retirement. Barbara cherished nothing more than time with her loved ones and looked forward to their traditional events, including trips to their cabin in Lovells, Michigan, and attending the St. Joseph County Fair. A week before the fair would open, she would tell everyone in her family, "Don't forget the fair is next week. Don't forget you have to take me to watch the horse show. Glenna will be looking for me."
As Barbara aged and her health became challenged by painful knees and deteriorating vision, she wrestled with her vanity. She didn't want others to see her struggle and pity her. Despite her hardships, Barbara continued to smile, be positive, and shower others with unconditional love. In so doing, she proved a powerful role model for how to live a whole-hearted life.
Clearly, it is difficult to imagine life in the absence of Barbara's bright and beautiful light. May we find comfort in knowing she is free of her earthly constraints and is reunited with her beloved. May we also find comfort in the privilege of carrying her loving legacy forward. With each day and challenge we meet with confidence, stranger we welcome as a friend, smile and positivity we share, and song we lift with our hearts, we celebrate the many ways Barbara gifted our lives. In this way, we keep her spirit alive and radiating out to a world that so needs her good love.
In accordance with Barbara's wishes a public visitation will be held on Wednesday, February 10, 2021 at McCowen and Secord Family Funeral Homes Rupert-Durham Chapel, 409 S. Main Street, Vicksburg, MI from 11 am until 12 noon.
In lieu of flowers the family asks that any memorial contributions made in Barbara's name be directed to the Vicksburg United Methodist Church, 217 S. Main Street, Vicksburg, MI 49097.
While visiting Barbara's tribute page please take a moment to light a candle or share a memory. The Griner family is being assisted by McCowen and Secord Family Funeral Homes Rupert-Durham Chapel, 409 S. Main Street, Vicksburg, MI 49097. (269) 649-1697.